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Bronze Age

A period in cultural history, beginning in the Old World in Babylonia from 2,500 to 3,500 years BC, characterized by the deliberate production of bronze. In the New World, in Peru, this period began around 500 or 1000 AD. Settled life and food surplus are typical in the Bronze Age. Urban life began and led to a shift of scribes, artisans, and other socialized occupational groups to the towns. Specialization of labor, leisure time, organized government, the separation of the priestly class, kingships, and organized astronomical data are found. Urbanization appeared particularly in southwest Asia and in Egypt, although its advantages were confined to certain classes. Specialists in commerce arose, as did organized thieves who preyed upon them. Trade items were sometimes buried by merchants to insure their safety.

The Bronze Age in Europe has been divided into two periods. The first 2,500 to 1,900 BC, saw flat celts, and daggers made of copper or bronze with a small percentage of tin, although some artifacts are still found. The second period, 1,900 to 1,600 BC, had a higher percentage of tin. Slightly raised sides are found on the celts, and the triangular daggers have a large median rib. The dagger blade lengthens and swords appear. Pottery with incised decorations is found. The third period, from 1,600 to 1,300 BC, had early long swords with tangs – knives cast with their handles in one piece – and advanced pottery. From 1,300 to 200 BC, the fourth period, there were celts with wing-shaped flanges at the top, swords with a tang to go through the handle, semicircular and double razors and pottery resembling pile-dwelling ware.